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  • The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) released its card fraud statistics for 2017 on Thursday.
  • Debit card fraud decreased by 8.5% while credit card fraud increased by 1%, to R436.7 million.
  • SABRIC also listed 7 insane tricks commonly used by card fraudsters in South Africa and how cardholders can protect themselves.


South Africa’s banking industry was hit with a 1% increase in credit card fraud in 2017, which rose to R436.7 million, according to a South African Banking Risk Information Centre’s (Sabric) latest report on card fraud.

Debit cards were the least hit by fraud, which declined by 8.5% to R342.2 million in the same period.

CEO of SABRIC, Kalyani Pillay attributes the decrease in debit card fraud to a reduction in lost and/or stolen and counterfeit card fraud. She says, “criminals are always adjusting their tactics to take advantage of innovations in the banking landscape."

Sabric lists these as the trending types of fraud in South Africa:

1. Lost and/or stolen card fraud.

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In many cases lost and/or stolen cards are obtained by interfering with customers while transacting at an ATM; criminals distract victims by offering them assistance during which the card and PIN are obtained.

The card is then used repeatedly at ATMs until the daily cash withdrawal limit on the card is reached, after which high value transactions are made at merchants.


2. Not-received issued-card fraud.

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Here, criminals intercept a genuinely-issued card before it reaches the customer.


3. False-application card fraud.

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Accounts are opened by falsifying a credit applications.


4. Counterfeit card fraud.

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Counterfeit cards are made using information stolen from the magnetic strip of a genuine card, usually through card skimming.


5. Card-skimming via Point of Sale (POS) devices.

A false front used by a card 'skimming' gang to steal details from cards used in ATMs. (Picture: Getty)


The first POS skimming devices were retrieved in South Africa in 2014, according to Sabric. Criminals steal legitimate POS devices from merchants and then convert them into skimming devices. In some instances, devices are swopped between different merchants to make it seem as if all devices are accounted for.


6. Account-takeover card fraud.

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The common denominator for both account-takeover fraud and false-application fraud is access to the personal information of victims. Takeovers are done by obtaining personal or client-specific information, pretending to be the client and then applying for a replacement card.


7. Card not present card fraud (CNP).

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These transactions are done via telephone or internet.

Criminals source card data in various ways such as phishing, vishing, malware, and data breaches.


Here's how to protect yourself:

How you can protect yourself against card fraud
  • Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax, or even email.
  • Don’t write down PINs and passwords, and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.
  • Don't use any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as a password, user ID, or personal identification number (PIN).
  • Don’t use internet cafes or unsecured terminals (hotels, conference centres etc.) to do your banking.
  • Review your account statements on a timely basis and query disputed transactions with your bank immediately.
  • When shopping online, only place orders with your card on secure websites.
  • Do not send e-mails that quote your card number and expiry date.
  • Ensure that you get your own card back after every purchase.
  • Report lost and stolen cards immediately.
  • If you have a debit, cheque and credit card, don’t choose the same PIN for all of them. If you lose one, the others will still be safe.
  • While transacting always keep an eye on the ATM card slot to ensure that your card is not taken out, skimmed, and replaced without your knowledge.
  • Should your card be retained by an ATM, contact your bank and block your card before you leave the ATM.
  • Subscribe to your bank's SMS notification services to inform you of any transactional activity on your account.

    Source: South African Banking Risk Information Centre

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